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This article compares the use of the term ‘pastoral’ in the canon law of the Western Latin Church as it occurred in the 1917 Pio-Benedictine Code of Canon Law and then in the revised Code of 1983. This is because the revised Code increased the use of the term ‘pastoral’ and I wish to see if its meaning had changed and, if so, in what way. Hence, the article considers how ‘pastoral’ occurred in the 1917 Code and then in the equivalent canons in the 1983 Code. There follows comparison with the earlier canons, which were sources for the 1983 canons to see if the term has changed in meaning and, if so, what that change is. I am interested to track the use of ‘pastoral’ because it has become ubiquitous in the churches and in society and has different meanings and expectations associated with it. As far as canon law and ecclesiastical law generally are concerned, it is interesting to consider how the term is used and this article is a contribution to an understanding of ‘pastoral’ in the law of the Roman Catholic Church.